The L.A. County Fair is a real Southern California treat. Packing Pomona’s Fairplex each fall with carnival rides and games, fried food and cold drinks, animals and people. It’s something to make sure that you experience at least once, if not more so. We ventured out there during its opening weekend and here are tips based on our experiences.
Arrive early. Not only does this give more time at the Fair, but it also let you enjoy some time before it gets too hot. Plus you can usually find a pretty decent parking spot in the general parking lot so you don’t have too long of a walk at the end of a day spent walking.
A nice way to start your day is by going on their sky lift, which offers a fantastic aerial view of the Fair and lets you pick out some spots you want to go to. It is also good to do in the morning before temperatures heat up.
Another nice thing to do if it looks like it will be a hot day is to get over to the Hot Dog On A Stick stand and buy a big souvenir glass of lemonade, which you can refill throughout the day at a discounted price.
Among the best rides were the giant ferris wheel (well worth the ticket price) and the faux canoe water ride (which is very refreshing, particularly after a long wait in line). On the other hand, the Ghost Pirate – a blink-and-you-are-done ride – definitely wasn’t worth its tickets.
The “best” carnival game (if “best” equals “easiest to get a prize”) would be the Pop The Balloon game since it’s a pretty simple to win a prize there (although it isn’t much of one). Conversely, there are a lot of shoot-a-basketball game booths but I didn’t see one person win one of the fine jerseys that they have hanging up so you shouldn’t get your hopes up too high at these games. Maybe it’s because the fine print on their signs state that something to the effect that the basketball hoops aren’t regulations size.
Another big attraction at the Fair is the food, and there is plenty of it. We didn’t go whole hog during our day there, but we did order up some BBQ and roasted corn on the cob for lunch, where were pretty good Fair grub. The main disappointment was a soggy piece of spanakopita, while the big highlight was the deep-fried Klondike Bar that we got at Chicken Charlie’s. It was warm and crispy on the outside and soft and cool on the inside.
While you can try to cover the entire Fair in one day, it’s nice just to be more relaxed about it, and stroll around and see what you can discover. One of the most memorable things we did was to stop at the Hollywood Aerial Arts setup. Our 8-year-old daughter got to go up and swing from a trapeze, which was a thrill for all of us. Although we didn’t see everything (the Pig Races will have to be for another visit), it was a full and fun day.